Tuesday, April 14, 2009


A long weekend away spent somewhere remote without internet access (Auckland!) and suddenly people are sending out search parties.

It's nice to be missed, I guess.

But, having had four days out of the SLuniverse I don't have that much to talk to you about really. Not about inworld stuff, at least.

Instead, I'll tell you about something I read at the weekend. It's kinda related, in a Web 2.0 kind of a way.

To set the scene, during my SLife mooching around the blogs I have read a thing or two about death. Both in SL and RL. How people suddenly disappear in SL and friends are left looking at warm chairs (and beds) wondering what happened, fearing the worst, without anything approaching anything that could in any way be described as closure.

I have read about SL funerals for such people. And about SL memorials and tombstones and graveyards. (I wonder if there are SL florists selling SL wreaths?) But SL death, or at least apparent SL death, might not be reciprocated in RL.

But sometimes, of course, sometimes SL death is the result of RL death.

I wanted to get an idea of just how often this happened so completed some rudimentary analysis. Approximately 275,000 people die in the world every day. That's 275,000 out of 7,000,000,000 people, or a 1 in 25,000 chance very roughly. At any one time somewhere in the region of 50,000 people are inworld. If global stats were globally true then we'd expect two of that 50,000 to be dead before breakfast tomorrow.

Of course, it's pretty clear that life expectancy is highly correlated with prevalence of broadband (cause and effect might suggest installing broadband will extend your life!) so mortality rates among the SL population are not the same as among the population of the nomadic tribes of the upper Sahara. Also, this analysis fails to take into account age profiles and stuff like that. As such the chance of dying for an SL-dweller would be less than 1 in 25,000. But let's say it's 10 times less likely, so 1 in 250,000. Now instead of two SLifers passing away every day, we having one leaving us every five days. Or conservatively let's say one a week.

Does that rate surprise you?

But that's all a preamble really. The reason for this post is to ask what will happen when you die? Will your SL friends all be sat around wondering if you got bored, or if your computer broke, or whether you did get hit by a bus after all?

At the weekend I was reading about the perfect solution. It covers not just SL but all of your Web 2.0 identities. It's called Legacy Locker and describes itself as a "safe, secure repository for your digital property that lets you grant access to online assets for friends and loved ones in the event of death or disability."

As far as I can tell you store all your username and password details in their database and you nominate a beneficiary who will receive an email giving them access to your details should you pass away (after they've let LL know, of course - they're not psychic!) They then can log on and close down all your relevant accounts and stuff, letting those know the sad news that need to.

I think it sounds like a good idea really. Allowing a close friend or relative to tie up all those lose internet ends. I'm just left wondering what percentage of SL users would actually want a close friend or relative logging on as them, receiving their private IMs and scanning their inventory. I would guess that it's less than 100.

For some, this might be a sensitive subject. I have tret it with a degree of levity. Please accept my condolensces if your current circumstances do not allow you that same levity. My purpose was not to offend or cause hurt. I was just chatting, like you would down a pub, before putting my foot in it.

1 comment:

  1. Dearest Marnix.
    Please blog more often. I miss your musings.
    Love, Nana.


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